Spending More on Trauma Care Does Not Translate to Better Outcomes

A large-scale review of national patient records reveals, despite variations in regional costs for treating trauma patients, survival rates are the same, according to research from Johns Hopkins.


For their study, researchers analyzed three years of data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample and identified 62,678 adult patients with a primary injury in one of five domains: blunt injury to the spleen, collapsed lung and bleeding in the chest, shinbone fracture, mild traumatic brain injury and liver injury.

After controlling for a variety of factors that could bias the results, the researchers found that the average per-person cost in the Northeast for trauma care for all five injury types combined was $14,022. The cost was 18 percent higher in the South, 22 percent more in the Midwest and 33 percent more in the West. The Northeast also had the lowest costs for each of the five types of injury, while the West had the highest, even after accounting for known differences in the widely used consumer price index.

Study authors were unable to account for the variation in healthcare costs, though these study findings suggest spending more on healthcare may not necessarily translate to better outcomes.

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